Thursday, 15 February 2018

Baked Lemon-Passionfruit Pudding






Valentine's Day, and this is what I made for dessert....using up the extra passionfruit that I had frozen after making the Buttermilk Pannacotta with Passionfruit. I also had a partially zested lemon in the fridge, so used the remainder of the zest, as well as the juice.

This is a combination of souffle and self-saucing pudding...by baking the batter in a water bath a custard is created on the bottom of the dish. The whipped egg whites that are folded into the batter cause it to puff up like a souffle during baking, but this is a more stable dish and only falls slightly when it is cooled. It is light and fluffy, sweet and tangy, with a creamy custard in the bottom of the dish.

Bake this in one large dish, or in individual dishes as I did. It is not complicated to make, and can be prepared ahead of time, to be popped into the oven and baked whenever you are ready.




Whisk together:

1/4 cup passionfruit puree or pulp
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 egg yolks







Whisk in:

3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) milk









Whisk in:

1 1/4 ounces butter, melted and cooled








In a large bowl, measure the dry ingredients:

1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
Pinch of salt







Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk until combined.









Whip the 2 egg whites until soft peaks form.










Continue to whip the whites, slowly adding:

2 tablespoons sugar

Whisk until you have a stiff, shiny meringue.









Gently fold the meringue into the passionfruit batter.










Divide the mixture between 4 greased ramekins.

Refrigerate for half an hour.








Heat the oven to 350F, and place the ramekins into a baking dish. Place the dish onto a baking sheet to make it easier to get it all in and out of the oven.





Fill the baking dish with hot water, adding enough to come at least halfway up the side of the ramekins.








Bake until the pudding is puffed, golden, just starting to crack slightly and when gently pressed in the middle feels slightly spongy.

This should take 25 - 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and when the ramekins are cool enough to touch, remove from the water, and allow to cool to room temperature.




To serve, dust the top of the pudding with icing sugar, and garnish with fresh raspberries. This dessert can be served at room temperature, which I did, or it can be chilled before serving. Either way, this is a sweet, tangy and extremely delicious treat!




  • I found this recipe on the Immaculate Bites website, and made a few small changes based on what I had to use.
  • The passionfruit pulp I was using was canned, and was the remainder of a can, that had been frozen. Passionfruit puree or pulp, or a combination, can be used. Look for fresh passionfruit when in season, but any other time frozen or canned can be used.
  • If you are using fresh passionfruit, you will need the pulp from about two passionfruit.
  • The lemon zest and juice can be changed to lime, or you can use a combination of the two.
  • If you have coconut milk, use that instead of milk.
  • I left the passionfruit seeds in the pulp, as I think they look good in the dessert, and we enjoy the crunch. Remember that if you do choose to strain them out, you will need more than two fresh passionfruit.
  • Consider serving this with whipped cream to cut the sweetness. Tart fruits such as raspberries or blackberries will do the same thing.
  • The safest way to add the water to the baking dish is to put everything into the oven and then add the water. You will still have to take it all out when it is done, and slow and steady is the best way to do this.
  • Other fruit purees can be used. Try mango, apricot, Key lime or Meyer lemon.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Radish and Pear Slaw







Radishes are not something we eat very often...not for any specific reason, we just don't seem to buy them. I had some in the fridge to use, and wanted to do something other than thinly slice them and add them to a salad!

The last pear in the fruit bowl inspired me to combine the two in a slaw, and I dressed it with olive oil and rice wine vinegar.

I served the slaw with a mixed green salad, using the same dressing, topped it with the small piece of blue cheese in the fridge, and added some baked chicken thighs. The crisp, peppery radishes worked very well with the slightly softer, sweet pear. I think we might be eating more radishes....

I saved the radish greens, thinly slicing them and adding them to a risotto. No waste, which is the way I like it!






Combine:

6 radishes, cut into matchsticks
1 pear, cut into matchsticks
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of salt





Add the dressing:

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Gently mix to combine, and coat the radish and pear with oil and vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning.





Serve the slaw on its own, as a side salad, or as part of another salad as I did. I added it to mixed greens, green beans and blue cheese and added some baked chicken thighs.




  • Radishes have a lovely crisp texture, and a peppery flavour. Always taste one before adding them, sometimes they can be quite intense, and thinly slicing or cutting them into small pieces works best in this case.
  • Radishes can also be roasted, or sauteed, just like any other root vegetable.
  • Any firm, sweet fruit will be a complement to the radish...try apples, Asian pear or grapes.
  • Instead of radish, try jicama...it has a crisp texture, but sweeter taste than radish.
  • I sliced both the radish and pear on a mandoline. They can be grated instead.
  • The slaw can be made up to an hour ahead, as the vinegar will slow the oxidation of the pear.


Friday, 2 February 2018

Sausage, Pepper and Bean Soup







This is a chunky, hearty soup, full of colour, flavour and texture, perfect for a cold winter dinner.

We are back to the red peppers in my fridge...we bought more than we realised, but I have slowly been working my way through them, and this hearty soup used the last one.

I used to make this soup a lot, and for some reason haven't done so for quite a few years, but it came to mind when I had all of the peppers in the fridge. As I had a few cannellini beans and 2 containers of chicken stock in the freezer, it made sense to make this again...and after eating it, we both wondered why it's been so long since I last made it!

I used to make this with hot Italian sausages, but I had 2 roasted red pepper and asiago sausages in the freezer, and they worked really well. I allowed the flavours from the sausage and vegetables to season the soup, adding just the needed salt and pepper right at the end.





In a bit of olive oil, cook:

2 sausages, removed from the casings

Start on a low heat to release the fat from the sausage and then increase the heat to cook the sausage. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Keep the pan to make the soup.





To the pan, add a bit more olive oil, and then cook until starting to soften:

2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced








When the carrots and onions are soft, add the cooked sausage back to the pan.









Stir in:

1 large sweet red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced







Now add the chicken stock, and then allow the soup to simmer until the carrots and onions are nice and tender.

Add:

4 cups chicken stock





Stir in:

1/2 cup cannellini beans, rinsed

Cook for a couple of minutes, and then taste and adjust the seasoning.  I needed only a small amount of salt and pepper.






To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with fresh grated Parmesan. Serve with warm crusty bread...your hearty, soul warming winter soup is ready to eat. Enjoy!




  • Any sausage will work, mine was a pork sausage with chunks of roasted red pepper and Asiago cheese in it. Use your favourite sausages, or any leftover sausages that were cooked for another meal.
  • Feel free to add extra vegetables such as celery, zucchini, butternut squash, turnip or leeks. Shredded greens such as kale or spinach can also be added. Diced, canned tomatoes can also be added.
  • The beans can be omitted if you like, or even increased and the sausage omitted, to make this a vegetarian soup (use vegetable stock instead of chicken).
  • The soup can be made a couple of days ahead of time; it can also be made and frozen.
  • The addition of fresh herbs such as thyme or parsley; spices such as fennel or cayenne pepper will add to the flavour.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Smoked Salmon Roulade


This lovely, light dish can be served for dinner, lunch, breakfast or brunch....it also looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. It is basically a souffle, baked in a flat sheet and rolled up. The base for the souffle can be made ahead of time, and it only takes 15 minutes to bake, so there really is no excuse for not trying it at least once!!

It's been a while since I made this, and the smoked salmon in the freezer made me think of it. I used the grated Parmesan that was in the fridge, some of the red peppers I had roasted a couple of days before, 4 egg whites from the freezer, and of course the smoked salmon.




In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt:

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Add, and cook until softened:

1/2 medium onion






Stir in, and cook for a couple of minutes:

1 1/2 tablespons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt






Whisk in:

1 cup milk

Continue to cook, whisking, until the sauce thickens and begins to boil. Remove from the heat.





Whisk:

4 eggs

Slowly add the eggs to the sauce, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.

Return to the stove, and cook over a low heat, whisking, until the sauce thickens to the consistency of custard.





Scrape the sauce into a bowl, and whisk in:

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese








Stir in:

3/4 cup chopped smoked salmon
3 green onions, minced
1/2 roasted red pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest






At this point, you can put the base for your roulade into the refrigerator, well wrapped until you are ready to bake it. If you are going to be baking it right away, continue on...

Line a 10" X 15" baking sheet that has sides, with parchment paper that overhangs the long sides by a couple of inches. Heat the oven to 400F. Cut a second piece of parchment paper, the same size, and set aside until needed. Have a second baking sheet ready as well.






Whisk to firm, but not dry, peaks:

4 egg whites









Fold the whipped egg whites into the smoked salmon base. Work gently, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.









Scrape the souffle onto the prepared pan, and gently spread it as evenly as possible.








Place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven and bake until golden and puffed, 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and immediately place the second sheet of parchment paper over the top of the souffle. Place a second baking sheet on top, upside down.






Flip the two pans over, and remove the top pan.

Carefully peel the top sheet of parchment paper from the souffle.









Starting from the short side, using the parchment paper to help, roll the souffle up as you would a jelly roll.








Use a serrated knife to carefully cut the smoked salmon souffle into 12 slices, and serve. I add fresh diced avocado to the plate, and passed salsa at the table. I made roasted potato wedges to serve with the roulade. All in all, a nice light, but tasty, Sunday night dinner!



  • This roulade can be adapted by changing the salmon to diced ham, cooked bacon, smoked trout; use minced fresh chives, parsley, basil instead of green onions; exchange the Parmesan for Swiss cheese, cheddar or pepper Jack cheese; and consider cooking thinly sliced leek instead of diced onion in the sauce.
  • No egg whites? Instead of adding 4 whole eggs to the sauce, whisk in 8 egg yolks, and whip 4 of the whites, freezing the remaining 4 for another time.
  • If you have any leftovers, they can be used in breakfast sandwhiches or wraps the next day.
  • This needs to be served immediately...when it is baked, flipped, rolled and then cut it should be eaten as soon as possible. 
  • Serve this with salad, crusty bread, pan fried potatoes, baked potato wedges or asparagus (steamed / grilled / roasted).

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Penne with Charred Red Pepper, Basil and Kalamata Olive Sauce




This chunky sauce was tossed with penne as a side to roasted chicken, grape tomatoes and cauliflower. It was also a way for me to make use of the abundance of red peppers in the fridge, a tablespoon of pinenuts and some fresh basil that was starting to wilt. Combining all of these flavours with some grated Parmesan and Kalamata olives, fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil and Balsamic vinegar brought the Mediterranean into our house...the sauce is chunky, full of colour, texture and fresh bright flavours associated with warmer climates. It is quick and easy to make, and even easier to eat!

I started by roasting three of my peppers, using one for this and saving the other two for another meal.

While your pasta is cooking, you can assemble the sauce. It is a fresh sauce, needing no cooking, other than the heat from the pasta to warm it through. What could be easier than that?




Start by combining:

1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
4 pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced







Add:

1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted pinenuts, roughly chopped







Stir in:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.






Stir in:

1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan.

Set aside until the pasta has finished cooking.







When the penne is cooked, drain, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the pasta and cooking water to the pot.

Add the sauce to the pot and stir to combine.








Serve the pasta, as a main course, or as a a side dish as I did...together with a roasted chicken breast, grape tomatoes and cauliflower. Garnish with more grated Parmesan if you wish.



  • Fresh, chunky sauces are great to use when cooking pasta in the summer, as it is one less pot on the stove in the heat. They are also good in that all of the freshness in the ingredients is retained, and none is lost through cooking.
  • Other ideas for fresh sauces are to peel, seed and chop fresh, ripe tomatoes in season and combine them with other ingredients such as fresh herbs, olives and garlic. Toss together chopped capers, olives, anchovies, garlic and basil. Finely chop garlic, pinenuts, basil and fresh spinach, toss with olive oil and Parmesan.
  • This pasta can be eaten as a salad; add sliced cooked chicken if you want. 
  • Purchased roasted red peppers can be used instead of roasting your own.
  • Make extra sauce and use it on sandwhiches, pizza in wraps or serve it with a cheese plate.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Lasagne Roll Ups with Tomato Jam, Spinach and Goat Cheese






I recently made a batch of the tomato jam from the post Savoury Tomato Jam and Goat Cheese Tart to use up some extra tomatoes. I used half of it to make panini with goat cheese and chicken, but still had the other half to use.



There was also some ricotta cheese, a handful of spinach and some Basic Tomato Sauce in the fridge, so I used everything to make lasagne roll ups. I spread the tomato jam onto the lasagne sheets and then added the spinach and ricotta mix. Part way through baking I crumbled the goat cheese over the top, so that it was warm and melty by the time the roll ups were ready to serve.

The jam is sweet and spicy while maintaining the savoury elements, and this was the flavour that stood out for me. The creamy, tangy goat cheese was a perfect complement to it, just as it was in the Savoury Tomato Jam and Goat Cheese Tart.

 
Start by cooking 8 lasagne noodles in lightly salted, boiling water. When they are just cooked, drain and run under cold water. Cut the noodles in half so that you have 16 pieces. Set aside while you make the filling.
 
Cover the bottom of an ovenproof dish with a thin layer of  Basic Tomato Sauce.
 
 
 
 
Combine:
 
1/4 cup cooked. chopped spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
 
 
 

 
Lay the 16 pieces of cooked lasagne noodles out on the counter.

Spread 1 tablespoon tomato jam over each one.









Divide the ricotta filling between the noodles and spread over the tomato jam.











Starting at the short end, carefully roll each noodle up, and place in the prepared dish, seam side down.








 
Cover the roll ups with:
 
3/4 - 1 cup Basic Tomato Sauce.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, and then crumble the goat cheese over the top:
 
1/2 - 3/4 cup goat cheese
 
Return to the oven and bake until the roll ups are hot in the centre and the cheese is melted and gooey.





Serve the roll ups with salad, or warm crusty garlic bread...



 
  • Store bought savoury jam of any kind can be used instead of tomato jam, but if you have time to make the jam, it can be used in so many other ways.
  • Consider using sundried tomato pesto or tapenade instead of jam.
  • Instead of goat cheese, you can top the roll ups with grated mozzarella, Asiago or Parmesan.
  • If you have fresh basil, add some to the ricotta mix.
  • Goat cheese can be used for part of the ricotta if you want the tanginess in the filling.
  • The lasagne roll ups can be assembled a day ahead.